Most people have muscle pain from time to time. But chronic myofascial pain is a kind of ongoing or longer-lasting pain that can affect the connective tissue (fascia) of a muscle or group of muscles. With myofascial pain, there are areas called trigger points. Trigger points are usually in fascia or in a tight muscle.
Myofascial pain often goes away with treatment. The main treatment may include any of the following:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Cognitive-behavioral therapy can teach you how to change your negative thoughts about pain. This can also help you be more active.
- Cooling spray. This involves using a cooling spray (such as Biofreeze) directly on the skin from the trigger point to the painful area and then gently stretching the muscle. This may be repeated several times.
- Hypnosis. Hypnosis may help you relax and reduce your pain.
- Massage therapy.
- Physical therapy, which may include stretching and strengthening exercises. It may also include counseling about how to change the things that make the pain worse. For example, you may learn how to adjust your workstation, improve your posture, or change your sleep position to avoid muscle tension.
- Trigger point shots (injections). A doctor inserts a needle into the trigger point and injects medicine such as a local anesthetic.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
Your doctor may also recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin. These medicines may help with your symptoms. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
Sometimes doctors prescribe certain antidepressants or muscle relaxants that help relax muscles and relieve sleep problems related to myofascial pain.